"Race you to the tree!" Edgar Bishop challenged as he shot off towards the large oak tree that sat at the crest of a low hill. Jonathan Smollet chased after him in pursuit to beat his neighbour to the tree. "If you're too slow, Jonathan, you can't come into our tree house!"
His younger sister, Amelia, watched on in complete envy. She turned to her mother and tugged at her dress. "Momma, can I go play with Jonathan?" She asked. Her mother's emerald eyes dropped to her daughter. Mrs Bishop, a plump lady who lived in the estate next to the Smollet's own estate, chuckled to herself.
Amelia's mother, Madeline, smiled weakly before turning to her daughter. "No, Amelia. You must stay with me and the ladies." She told. Amelia frowned.
"But I want to go race with the boys!" She claimed. "Please, Momma, please?"
Mrs Bishop's laugh grew louder. "She's an adventurous little one, isn't she?"
Madeline grinned. "Yes, she plays with her brother more than her sister. He's rubbed off on her." She sighed. "I've been trying to get her into more lady-like things but no, she still wants to romp with her brother!"
The few ladies laughed among themselves while Amelia impatiently waited. Finally her mother turned to her. "No love, you can't. Why don't you go play tea parties with the girls?"
Amelia's frowned sustained. "No, tea parties are boring! I want to go race!"
Defeated, Madeline sighed and patted her daughter's arm. "Fine, go play with the boys but don't dirty your dress!"
Amelia's eyes lit up and she gave her mother a quick hug before turning and running towards the large oak tree. She resisted the temptation to hitch up her skirt; her father had told her to stop doing it. No one argues with father. With her hair flowing in the wind, Amelia finally reached the tree. She stared up into the thick branches, where a wooden platform was built. Up there, she could hear the voices of her brother and the sons of the neighbours: Edgar Bishop, Daniel Reading, Timothy Baldwelding and Harry Kings. Amelia heard them laugh, tell a joke and listened to their footsteps against the rough wood.
"Oi!" She cried. The voices stopped. Five heads peered over the side of the platform. "Can I join?" Amelia asked. The boys laughed.
"You?" Sneered Edgar Bishop. "But you're a girl!"
Amelia frowned, glared at him and crossed her arms. "So?" She snapped back.
"So that means you can't play with us!" Daniel Reading replied. "Girls can't play with boys. Why don't you go play with your dolls instead?"
The boys all snickered among themselves. Jonathan glanced at his visibly upset sister and sympathised. "Come on," He spoke softly to his friends. "Just let her up. She'll probably change her mind in a few minutes."
Timothy Baldwelding snorted. "But no girls are allowed in our tree house!"
Amelia frowned in confusion. "That's a tree house?" She questioned. The boys again laughed among themselves.
"Of course!" Harry King spat. "What did you think it was, stupid? A tree pony?"
"No, it's just that it's not a house. It's more like a platform. Houses have walls and roofs and windows and doors. That's basically a big square made of wood stuck in a tree. It's not a house so it can't be a tree house!" Amelia explained. The boys looked at each other.
"So what?" Edgar Bishop cried. "It's what we call it and we call it a tree house! A tree house that only us boys can go in!"
Amelia frowned, thinking. "You said that if Jonathan was too slow, he wouldn't be able to go in the tree house. If I beat you in a race, then can I come into the tree house?"
The boys all gathered to themselves, whispering. "She's not fast, she's a girl…Edgar can beat her easily…no harm…too slow…girl…tree house…." They all nodded in unison and turn to Amelia.
"Alright girl," Spoke Edgar Bishop. "If you can beat me, the fastest boy alive, then you can come into the tree house."
Amelia eyed him suspiciously. "You promise?" She said cautiously. Edgar put a hand on his heart and promised. Amelia's face lit up. "Okay then, let's race!"
The boys let down a ladder and climbed down one by one. They all lined up by the tree and discussed the route. "Okay, down to the gazebo and back? Should we leave a shoe down there so she doesn't cheat?" They chattered.
With smirks on their faces, the boys all turned to Amelia. Harry Kings made a starting line for Amelia and Edgar Bishop to stand by while Timothy Baldwelding and Daniel Reading hurried down to the distant gazebo and back again, while Daniel stayed down there. When Timothy returned, one shoe was missing.
"The first person to return to the tree after touching the gazebo is the winner. Amelia, you must get the Tim's shoe; it's in the gazebo. If you win, you can come up to the tree house with us. If Edgar wins, you must go away and leave us all alone forever." Jonathan explained. "There will be no cheating, just running there and back."
Amelia stood at the starting line and knelt forward, ready to sprint off. Edgar Bishop stood next to her in a similar position, his brown eyes twinkling mischievously. Jonathan dropped the handkerchief and the two sped off.
Edgar Bishop ran ahead while Amelia struggled not to trip over her skirt. "Blasted…skirt!" She cursed. Ignoring her father's warning, Amelia grabbed the hem of her skirt, kicked off her tight shoes and raced forward. The lace tickled the back of her legs but Amelia kept running, all the way down until she was neck-and-neck with Edgar Bishop. He glanced at Amelia then sped up but Amelia slowly took over him. Eyes wide with panic, he sped up but Amelia kicked up her pace and reached the gazebo. Grabbing the leather shoe, she leapt over the fencing and ran around the gazebo. Edgar Bishop, who was two metres away from the gazebo, quickly turned and sped forward. Amelia picked up her pace but by the time they returned to the tree, Amelia was just slightly behind.
Punching the air, Edgar Bishop cheered. "I won!" He whooped, despite being out of breath with rosy cheeks.
Amelia frowned and waved the shoe in the air. "No, I won. I got the shoe!" She retorted triumphantly.
"Ah, but the object of the race wasn't to get the shoe, it was to get back first. The shoe was just to see if you were cheating or not. I won." Edgar snapped and grinned evilly. Amelia frowned.
"No, I won. You said I had to get the shoe."
"You did get the shoe but the object of the game was the first person to get back. I didn't have to get the shoe, but you did!" Edgar sneered.
"That's not fair! You didn't even touch the gazebo!" Amelia cried. "By the time I got around it, you hadn't reached it yet. As soon as you saw me, you turned around and ran back!"
"No, he did touch the gazebo," Lied Daniel Reading as he jogged towards the group. "I was down there to check he did."
"You're lying!" Amelia claimed. "You don't want me to win! I won because he cheated!" Amelia pointed a sharp finger at Edgar.
Edgar shrugged. "So what? You're still not coming into the tree house!" He jeered.
Feeling on the verge of tears, Amelia turned to her brother. "Jonathan, you must believe me!" She cried.
"Who's he going to believe?" Edgar snickered. "His cry baby of a sister or his best friend?"
Both of them turned to Jonathan. Torn, Jonathan glanced at them both. Edgar gave him a threatening look. Jonathan gazed at the ground. In a small voice, he spoke: "Edgar."
"See!" Edgar spoke triumphantly. "He believes me! I won fair and square because I touched the gazebo!"
Amelia glared at him. Seeing red, she held out her hands and planted them at Edgar's chest. "You lying scum!" She yelled as she shoved Edgar Bishop. The blonde boy flew backwards and he grabbed Amelia's skirt in an attempt to pull himself away from the ground. However, Amelia's skirt tore, leaving a large tear in the blue fabric. Edgar hit the ground hard, dirt covering his white shirt.
"Amelia Katherine Smollet!" Called Madeline as she and the other mothers hurried over. "How dare you shove that poor boy!"
Amelia pointed at Edgar. "He's a liar, Momma! He cheated and he lied!" She screamed loudly, trying her best not to cry.
"Amelia, ladies do not raise their voices." Madeline warned as she gripped her daughters arm and pulled her away. "And ladies do not turn to violence."
In the anger of the moment, the rage in Amelia's heart, she cried out angrily: "I don't want to be a lady!"
The mothers gasped and gazed at Amelia, bewildered. Madeline's eyes went wide with disbelief and panic, her grasp on her daughter suddenly becoming limp. There was a pregnant pause; the silence was deafening.
Instantly, Amelia knew she had done something very, very wrong.
HEY YOU GUYS! Hiya, welcome to my new fanfic! Sorry if the beguinning is a bit boring, slow, etc. but we're going to have a look into Amelia's past before Treasure Planet :) We'll meet her father and younger sister in the next chapter and Arrow sill pop up somewhere, probably in the next chapter too. My Microsoft trail is going to run out on the 2nd of August but I'm off on holidays on Saturday so updates are going to be slow. Hopefully, I can use docs on my doc manager to update (fingerscrossed) but there may be spelling errors and punctuation errors too :( Hope you enjoy!